A memory of university orchestra days part 3

A photo of the jr. orchestra at a summer camp happened to come out of an old album stored in PC. It was at the dining room of the guesthouse in mid '70s. The people on the photo was only about one third of all the members.

The guy tuning his viola in the center of the photo was a kind of leader in the beginner's group. On the usual day, we often stayed at the club room in the university after classes. Late at night, a small ensemble was sometimes started with a few members there. This guy, capable of playing trombone, recorder and viola, was the main person in such an ensemble. It was a primitive ensemble by beginners but was still much fun. One of the pieces we often played then was the 1st contrapunctus of Art of Fugue by Bach. It was tough for us to go through fugue since there was few unisons between parts as you know. It was still interesting the fugue thema was taken over from an instrument to the other. This person composed music as well. 

We have organized a small ensemble within the orchestra and have often been to hospitals or the other facilities for a small concert. He has conducted it and/or arranged wellknown old songs for that ensemble. Before graduation from the school, he has given me his work, piano trios for soprano, cello and piano, featuring the poems by Saisei Muroo and Jukichi Yagi. Very beautiful and heavenly music. Unfortunately, I haven't performed them in any concert yet. I owe him much. I know he has worked as a psychiatrist in his life and maybe already in his retirement for now.

The girl on the right of the back row, a cellist, was a student majoring in piano at the music education faculty. She used to sing the aria "Er Barme Dich" from Matthew's Passion in the ensemble mentioned above. She was not necessarily the best alto singer those days. However premature her technique as a singer might be, her performance was compelling to us with her incandescent enthusiasm. It was performed in the hospital where my father used to work. She was really proficient at piano. Not only perfect in technique but also warm and always emotionally expressive. In the only concert of the orchestra which I took the role of the principal cellist, performing the 7th symphony of Beethoven, I asked her to sit the top side position. It was one of the most remarkable moments for me in the university orchestra days. I heard she had married to a pediatrician in her home town area several years after graduation.

Well, back to the jr orchestral memories, at the Christmas party of the orchestra in the end of that year, we have performed Pastrale of the Christmas Concerto by Corelli. A good choice. It made us feel keenly of the season. As quiet as snow falling night, soothing and pleasant. In a subway on the way back home, I was  accidentally on the same train with a couple of cellist girls and a violinist, who were all music education students. It was the time when we were finishing the prep course for medical study and were ready for getting out of the dorm. We would attend the main campus in Tokyo when we started professional studies. Our whole lives would undergo a big change then.

Anyway, the cellists seemed to be very interested in our life at the dorm and wanted to visit us there. In addition to them, that violinist said "Me, too". This violinist was really a good player who would play the role of concert misstress for a couple of years later on. In the same small ensemble within the orchestra, she has played the violin solo for "Er Barme Dich" together with the cellist girl as told above. Very decisive performance. Still full of deep vibrato which expressed her poetic turn of mind. I was a bit hesitating to have them at the dorm. With approval of the room mate, we have accepted them there.

In February or sometime in early spring, they have visited us. I wonder how we have treated them at that time. Have we served red tea with an electrical pot? I can't remember that. When I asked that violinist to play something, she started playing Chaconne by Vitali. It was so impressive when the grave double stop of the tune abruptly sounded gorgeous in our plain room. The music she played changed the atmosphere. Other than that, we have played some early quartet of Mozart together with a violist friend of mine. I could not remember how we managed that. But it was when I noticed what fun it was to play chamber music with good company, even though it was far from real chamber music.

The jr orchestra days was musically very premitive and skill less time for me as a cellist. But it was still really brilliant days in my life when I could learn how good it was to play ensemble as if we sung together. It has determined my way to go, even if I was a bit away from music during my medical career. It has made my life full of joy and good memoir.

I often wonder how those friends are doing now. How have they done with music throughout their lives? I sure would ask them about that if I had a chance to see them.

I still have a bit more to talk about those days. But the glass of scotch on the rocks is being finished now. It is the time for me to put an end to this tale. Thanks for reading.


  1. We enjoyed these posts very much. Thank You Shin.

    1. Thanks for reading, Bob. There are so many things to be remembered or to come up in mind.

  2. Thanks Shin. Lovely descriptions. CU on the air.

    1. Thanks, Chris. It is my 69th birthday today. Where have the young days gone? hi See you soon again.

  3. Not being a "facebook" junkie any longer, I do not get the cheat sheets with birthday announcements. Hence, I missed this honorable occasion.
    As you know, my father wrote a short book about his life, his parents, his children and his wife. It took mee several years to have the courage to read it, but it is now done. I have sent the original manuscript to my daughter. You possess such a way with English writing (your Japanese may be terrible), I strongly encourage you to pen your history for those to come later. It will matter little to you, but it will matter immensely to those that come along later.

    1. Hi Don,

      Thanks for your kind words. But I don't think my write ups would deserve being left to the descendants if any. It is just for me and for friends of mine if they are interested in. When I pass away, this blog or the others should be gone away as well. Your guess on my Japanese has made me laugh a lot. So is my English! Just for prevention or slowing progress of dementia.

      Your father's book seems interesting. Why not publicating it or some parts of it in the internet? It is very good you have read it through and have passed it to your daughter. Something is flowing between all of you, isn't it? I am sure your father is delighted to know you have done it.


      PS;69 years...where have my young days gone? It has been half a century since I was wondering what way to go.